Swift execution for the Panthers leaves Raiders fans roaring
THE Canberra Raiders finally gave their fans something to cheer about in their last home game of the season.
Following three successive defeats at GIO Stadium, the Raiders, red-hot on a cold Monday night, crushed the Panthers 34-18, the hosts having four unanswered tries on the board in the first 27 minutes.
Though featuring two teams well and truly out of the race to make the finals, it was an entertaining contest that had its share of drama.
While Blake Austin showed all the razzle- dazzle he has become renowned for until he went off midway through the second half with a serious shoulder injury, it was some magic from Edrick Lee that stole the show.
Following a break by Sam Williams from dummy half, Lee charged downfield and looked set to be caught until a perfectly weighted pass behind his back found Jarrod Croker, who crossed for the team's second try at the 17-minute mark. He was at it again in the final 10 minutes, giving off to Sisa Waqa into space to set up his team's sixth try and put the icing on the cake.
The Panthers had their moments, including two second-half tries from Apisai Koroisau, but it was ultimately a disappointing night for the visitors.
Skipper Jamie Soward was flattened by Jack Wighton and stretchered from the field in the first half. The Raiders fullback may come under some scrutiny for the hit.